Monday, March 5, 2012

The origin of Foster the People

Businessweek (easily my favorite magazine):

Before Pumped Up Kicks became a top-selling single last year, Mark Foster’s greatest hit was the music in a TV commercial for Muscle Milk, a protein drink. But this year the singer-songwriter and his band, Foster the People, were nominated for two Grammys and performed live during the Feb. 12 awards telecast. For another artist, that would mean a speedy exit from the jingle-writing day job. Not Foster. He wrote most of the album’s songs while working at Mophonics, a Los Angeles company that scores TV commercials and, in a unique partnership, encouraged him to develop his outside recording career. Now that Foster has made it, Mophonics is benefiting, too, selling compositions he wrote earlier to advertisers including Cadillac (GM).
Foster had been waiting tables in Los Angeles for a decade when, in 2008, he met Mophonics’s Frick and partner Steph Altman, who hired the aspiring composer. When Foster arrived at Mophonics, he was shocked by how little he knew about writing music. During his first week, Foster went with Altman to pitch Nissan Motor, which wanted an electronic version of a Billie Holiday song it had licensed. “It was terrifying,” Foster says. “I didn’t read music, and I was trying to figure it out by ear.”
Here's Houdini by Foster the People: